North Babylon school district taxpayers pass $69M in improvements
North Babylon residents voted Tuesday to approve a $69 million school district bond issue that will finance classroom renovations, new sports fields and other capital improvements.
The $69,249,500 plan passed in an 872-499 vote, according to Jessica Novins, a spokeswoman for the North Babylon school district.
The borrowing will increase school taxes for the average household by $17.57 per month, according to district Superintendent Glen Eschbach.
“I believe it’s a strong endorsement,” Eschbach said of the 64 percent of votes in favor of the plan. “It really showed a significant commitment by this community to enhance the education system.”
The district last issued capital bonds in 2003, Eschbach said. Since then, classrooms, athletic facilities and building infrastructure have deteriorated, he said.
The bond-funded capital improvements will bring upgrades to all seven district schools, including renovations of every library, Eschbach said.
The bonding — which had the support of local civic leaders — will also pay for the construction of a 9,000-square-foot administration building, expected to cost $6 million, Eschbach said.
Nearly 75 percent of the improvements to facilities used by district students will be covered by the New York State Education Department, Eschbach said. But the district must nevertheless bond for the entire $69 million project cost, as state payments will come in over 15 years.
Eschbach said he hopes construction will begin next summer on the first projects, such as replacing fire alarms and hallway lockers, and installing new gymnasium bleachers and paved walkways.